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Informax Forecasts Strong Future Revenues; Shares Slip Following News

NEW YORK, Jan 4 - Informax said Thursday increased sales of Genomax and Vector NTI software would help to drive up fourth quarter revenues to $5.3 million while new bookings of $6.7 million in the quarter would generate strong revenues in the future.

In a conference call to discuss the company’s earnings outlook, CFO Joseph Lehnan said he expects “a very aggressive” 2001, predicting revenues of $32 million next year, almost double a projected $16.6 million for 2000. Informax said it was on track to achieve profitability by 2002.

The news did little to bolster Infomax’s share price, which was down 7/8, or 9 percent, at 8 7/8 in late morning trading. Informax’s share price, along with others in the bioinformatics sector, has slipped over the past few months, falling from a high of 31 3/4 reached in November.

Despite this market weakness, analysts said Informax remains a leading player in the bioinformatics market.

" You have a biotech and pharmaceutical industry that is very receptive to high caliber nformatics solutions, and there is room for multiple companies to get a slice of the pie," said James Ackerman, an analyst at Friedman, Billings & Ramsey. " Lion has signed impressive deals, Rosetta has signed impressive deals, but no one has the user and customer base that Informax has."

Some 22,000 researchers at 1,300 institutions use Informax's Vector NTI suite and 26 customers have licenses to Genomax. Ackerman noted that Lion has roughly the same number of customers for its products as Informax has for Genomax.

The company completed six deals to license Genomax, its bioinformatics system for genomic data mining and analysis in the fourth quarter, four with biotech companies and two with academic institutions, the company reported in the call. Four out of six were term-limited licenses, allowing for recurring revenue from license renewals. Additionally, the company completed a multi-site deal with a major pharmaceutical company for its Vector NTI suite, and expanded an existing agreement with Aventis pharmaceuticals.

Informax expects its total bookings for 2000 to be $20.2 million, with $16.9 million coming from software.

“This would be the sixth year in a row that Informax has doubled its bookings,” said Informax CEO Alex Titomirov.

Titomirov also indicated the company’s fourth quarter losses would meet or slightly beat Wall Street’s consensus estimate of ten cents per share. “This reflects our investment in sales force development and marketing activities,” Titomirov said.

In the first half of 2001, Informax expects to release, genomemodule, a whole genome-viewing module for Genomax, and by the end of the third quarter it expects to release a protein-protein interaction module, the company said.

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